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Gay Art Teacher Wants Student Removed From Class After Bigoted Parents Try To Get Him Fired

Man teaching boy how to paint

One of the many challenges teachers face is parent relations.

The subReddit “Am I the A**hole?” (AITA) detailed one such parent/teacher circumstance.

Redditor GayTeacherman was caught off guard and put on the defense when a set of parents demonized his personal life.

The parents became so problematic, in fact, that the Original Poster (OP) asked:

“WIBTA [would I be the a**hole] for requesting a child be removed from my class due to his parents?”

What would drive him to such a drastic decision?

“I am an art teacher at a school in a small town, recently I welcomed a new student to the class, he had previously been homeschooled but had begged his parents to let him go to a normal school with his friends. He’s a great kid, he has already fit right in with the class, and he does really great work, my only issue with him has been that he does not ask to leave the classroom, if he needs a bathroom he just leaves.”

“I’m not the strict “everything needs to be my way” kind of teacher, but the administration has a very strict policy for students outside of classrooms during class periods.”

“I asked his parents to come in so we could discuss it, to try to get them to help me figure out a way to get him to follow this rule.”

“They arrived and seemed like fine enough people, but then saw my photo on my desk of myself (28-year-old male) and my husband (31-year-old male). They asked who it was, and I was honest, it has never been an issue before.”

“They later called the school to report me for “inappropriate behavior in the classroom” mind you, I do not talk about my husband in class. I am there to teach, not preach lol.”

“Administration is definitely with me on this, but honestly, they have started sending some really rude emails to my school-provided account, and I would like to honor their wishes that their child not be “exposed” to my “disgusting lifestyle.”

“I may be the a**hole here because as good of a student as he is, I just no longer feel comfortable with him in my class. He loves art class, and there are no other art teachers at the school, so he’d be removed from the course entirely, which I know isn’t fair to him.”

“But it also is not fair to me to be called things like a groomer and accused of working in a school to ’corrupt innocent minds with [my] filth.'”

The OP provided one clarification.

“Forgot to add, they have requested I be fired and replaced”

Redditors weighed in by declaring:

  • NTA – Not The A**hole
  • YTA – You’re The A**hole
  • NAH – No A**holes Here
  • ESH – Everyone Sucks Here

Redditors decided NTA.

“NTA, I’d also want to distance myself from such parents. Unfortunately, the only person who will really be affected by their madness is their child.”

“And I don’t see how having a picture of yourself with your husband is so wrong. Unless you’re naked on a bed with him.” – One-Awareness3671

“NTA. Ever wonder why he was home-schooled in the first place?” – Top-Put2038

“NTA, but the school may not be able to remove him entirely, so I would advocate for another adult to be present in the room when you teach his class.”

“You should also insist that any further communication should go through administration.”

“His parents are already making false allegations, and if the administration is not willing to address their behavior, they at least need to take steps to protect you professionally.”

“A lot of the y t an and e s h comments are ignoring the very real danger that the parents’ behavior could be to your career and livelihood.”

“Of course, you don’t want to punish a child, but if given a choice between your career and a child being in your class, there is nothing wrong with protecting yourself.” – photosbeersandteach

“NTA. I would recommend that you make sure that you are never alone with the child in case his parents try to claim that you engaged in inappropriate behavior.”

“If the child wants to speak with you alone, make sure the principal or another teacher is present.” – Kookie-cookiebaker-

“NTA. But the administration should be doing more to deal with them.”

“A lot of parents homeschool their kids to keep them from being exposed to anything they do not approve of. The actual education is secondary.”

“If your school’s backing is strong enough, they may withdraw him. Sucks for the kid though.” – gastropodia42

“If they don’t want their son to be in your class because you are gay then they need to be adults and tell the school to switch his class instead of sending you hateful, homophobic emails.”

“To be honest, the school should have already moved him given that they know about the parents’ behavior.”

“I worry that if you request he be removed, his parents will feel like they have “won” and that’s not fair to you.”

“Let the kids’ parents be the “bad guys.” My judgment is NTA, and I feel sad for both you and your student.” – bethholler

“Honestly, it’s tough to make a judgment here. You’re NTA, but neither is the kid, and you having him removed from your class is taking away a fantastic opportunity for growth for him.”

“Is it possible for you to have these emails redirected by the school’s IT department?”

“Perhaps someone in the administration can step in and screen these emails for you, or the parents can be told that they must contact the administration with any concerns instead of reaching out directly to you?”

“On that note, are you even sure that these emails will stop if you have the kid removed, or are these parents going to keep harassing you or the school about you?”

“Ultimately, I get it. I wouldn’t want to be in an environment where I’m being degraded like that either, and if you choose to have the kid removed, I can’t blame you.” – km89

“NTA, the parents made it clear they are going to antagonize you until he is removed. You’ll both be happier.”

“It’s too bad for the kid because you’d probably be a great influence but for your own peace of mind, but it’s not worth the misery.” – Iwassayingboourns77

“I am so sorry for this poor boy, but his opportunity to grow creatively does not trump your civil rights and safety…or the safety of your husband.”

“I would file a report with the police just to have something on record. The school should provide legal intervention in the “cease and desist” kind of way.”

“And if that doesn’t work, well, guess this will be one more thing he will hate them for later.”

“That is sad. Tragic, even…but protecting his right to be creative (not being snarky; I feel that truly is very important) isn’t going to help him and could truly damage you and yours. NTA” – TrixterBlue

“NTA here. You need to protect yourself here.”

“Do not expect too much from the school. They tend to bend to parents.”

“First and foremost you probably just need to report these emails to the police and see if you can get a [temporary restraining order].”

“Are we talking about a small private school or an actual district?”

“Either way, there should be a governing body they will eventually escalate this to, which more than likely won’t be good for you. As I stated earlier, schools ultimately always tend to bend to parents and generally the most horrible of parents that pops up out of the woodwork.” – Long_Squash1762

“NTA, kudos on the camera in the classroom. Submit everything to admin in writing (email).”

“Follow their instructions exactly. If they say to keep the kid and the photo, do that with minimal explanations to the parents.”

“If they say to remove the photo, query your union or content supervisor. Never ever touch the kid, don’t even get close.”

“Close off your phone from potential airdrops. Be explicit with admin that you will not communicate with the parents further without an administrative mediator present.”

“Protect that job!” – Vertigobee

“NTA, These people will do ANYTHING to manufacture a reason to get you in trouble.”

“That would leave all your students without a teacher. Protect yourself for all your students’ sakes.” – JuliaX1984

“NTA. They don’t want you teaching their kid, and you aren’t comfortable teaching him anymore.”

“Hopefully, they can find him an online lesson or something similar or at least give him supplies to keep going on his own – if they were previously homeschooling him, they should be able to find him some way of doing it on his own.” – AmethystMoonbeams

The OP went on to provide an update.

“Gonna talk to a lawyer, but also, we have talked it over and decided to move after the school year, going to go somewhere a bit bluer, thanks, everyone!”

“Final edit: we are for sure moving. It’s gotten bad, also to everyone saying I deserve this for “flaunting my sexuality” eat a bag of d*cks, you are part of the problem”

Hopefully, the OP and his husband will find a more supportive environment in their next town.

Written by B. Miller

B. is a creative multihyphenate who enjoys the power and versatility of the written word. She enjoys hiking, great food and drinks, traveling, and vulnerable conversation. Raised below the Mason Dixon, thriving above it. (she/her)